I’ve been immersed in formalized education all but the first five years of my life. Fourteen years in elementary, middle, and high school (I flunked my first year of kindergarten), more years than I needed in college, and then the rest of my life as either a teacher or school administrator. Because of this, January 1st, never really seems like the start of a new year to me. For me, the years have been consistently clicked off from August to June, with August being the start of a new year, the school-year. So back-to-school time feels like a new start.
Back to school season is marked by the hot, waning days of summer, sales on kids’ clothing and school supplies, and the mixed emotions of excitement and anxiety over the unknown school-year ahead. For many parents it marks the end of a long summer together with their kids, and the bitter-sweet relief of turning them back over to teachers, administrators, and support staff for the majority of the waking hours. For teachers and other school staff, it marks the coming joy and responsibility of wading in and striving to make a difference in the lives of these kids over the next 10 months or so.
It’s always my goal that the start of a new school-year marks a season of new possibility and adventure and wonder. As educators, we can’t control all the messy challenges that often threaten to pull students down and steal their joy, cloud their judgement, and dull their intellect, but we can do everything in our power to make our classrooms and schools a place of refuge where students are met with encouragement and hope. We can be a voice for growth cheering students on and building them up. We can be a force that challenges them to achieve beyond what they believe they can accomplish.
So get up, gear up, and step up, it’s time to do what you were made to do if you have answered the high calling of professional education – make a difference in the lives of kids.
Happy New Year.